ByJoby Bongco, writer at
Martial arts instructor, walker stalker, movie lover, Disney fanatic, pop culture junkie, MMA enthusiast and all around nerd
Joby Bongco

Social media and networking has made the world a much smaller place between fans and celebrities. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have helped users of all kinds keep up to date on the new stories and gossip on their favorite stars. Others like Instagram and Snapchat allow followers to catch a glimpse into the lives of celebrities with personal pictures and videos. But despite these advancements, it's incredibly difficult and rare to have a famous person respond to a comment or hold a conversation. Even during meet and greets or conventions, the window to ask a question or say anything more than a "Hi! I'm a huge fan!" is pretty small. Wouldn't it be nice to get a sit down, personal exchange with favorite on screen personalities? Well, the company CelebChat is making that possible!

This new bootstrapped startup website offers fans the chance to video chat with famous faces from movies and television. Recently I took advantage of this opportunity and talked to one of my favorite contestants from MTV's The Challenge, series veteran Cara Maria Sorbello (Cutthroat, Rivals I and II, Battle of the Bloodlines and many more). Aside from being a strong competitor and holding a rather impressive elimination record, she was an absolute sweet heart and let me interview her about her personal life and her experiences on the show. Check out what she had to say!

[Me] What is life like outside of the show?

[Cara Maria] Literally I try to be as busy as possible. So I'm either teaching kickboxing, training horses, I'm riding my own horse, I'm doing art or I'm at the gym. Really that's it. Sometimes I go out with my friends but if I have a chance to do nothing then I will happily veg out on Netflix.

Awesome! What are your go-to shows on Netflix?

I've been watching anything from Breaking Bad, I've seen that series a million times over. Cupcake Wars (laughs), The Blacklist, there's all sorts of good stuff on there. It's funny because anytime The Challenge is on I've been watching Netflix. I used to watch the show, I always thought it was cool, I just have so much going on [also] I know what happens because I was there so I have not seen an episode full through this season.

You said earlier that you teach kickboxing. Is it more fitness or are you more self defense/sport. Any chance you’d consider going amateur or pro?

(Laughs) No. We actually don’t punch each other in the face where I teach kickboxing. I basically teach cardio kick. We do a 15 minute bootcamp in the beginning and the whole rest of the class is bag rounds and glove drills. It’s really wicked funny!

Which is hilarious because I KNEW they were going to show when I was "hammer time" at that beach where I went to hit the bag and I missed. Like at my kickboxing we hit heavy bags where you hit them hard and they move and come back to you. They don’t fly up. And I was absolutely s***faced. And I come up like “Yeah I got this! I’ll punch this thing!” But we’re on the beach and it’s all slippery with the sand. So when I went to throw my cross and I tried to pivot on the ball of my foot, I think in my “hammer time” state of mind, I just went *woosh!* I didn’t expect it to go up and I just looked like an idiot (laughs).

(Laughs) I know what you mean. I teach kickboxing in New Jersey and I always see those punching machines where guys are running at it full force and I'm thinking "Wow what terrible form... They're so stupid."

Yeah! And they even punch with the wrong part of their hand. I'm like "No you're supposed to punch it [with your knuckles] and they're going [with a hammer fist]. It's bad... I’m just thinking “they’re going to air that…” and they did…

Eh it's okay. I follow you on Instagram and I see your form is solid. But besides the kickboxing, what else do you do to prepare you for the shows?

Well my real life just turned out to be fitness which is amazing because it's something I love to do. But if I knew I was going to do a challenge, I usually try to swim. I always try to work on things I'm bad at so I'll play mind games online and I'll take some swimming lessons. But really the challenges are such a crap shoot. It's like are you going to be able to eat bugs quicker or spin around a swing like what Jenna and KellyAnne had to do - it could be anything so it's really hard to prepare.

What has been your favorite season to be a part of thus far?

Free Agents (season 25) for sure. That was the coolest thing ever because there were no alliances. You couldn't make an alliance. Every day I could be partners with anyone, whoever TJ [Lavin - host of The Challenge since season 11] pulls out of a hat. It could be groups, teams of one, teams of two - I loved how it changed every day. I think it evened the playing field.

Do you have a favorite challenge/mission that really stood out for you?

Hm... we've done so much cool stuff. I guess the most recent one on this show, if I had to pick one from this current season would be the car one.

Ooh! That one was really cool!

Yeah! Pretend you're a superhero and jump from car to car? The only thing that was unfortunate was that Jamie and I got picked to go first so we had to be very careful. So we thought "Oh somebody is going to fall off a car! There's no one anyone else is going to make it! We killed it!" And then everybody else schooled us! That's what happens when you go first, you just don't know.

Right, that's definitely a tough spot. Do you have a favorite elimination round? You've been in so many over the past eight season. What was one of your favorite eliminations you've done or even watched?

It sounds cliche but the one where CT put Bananas on his back was my favorite one to watch. But one of my favorite ones was, not the actual elimination itself, but being able to send Bananas home this past season. Because he is a champion and he's good at puzzles and I'm not good at puzzles. So all those things combined and everything that was on the line, that was the best win I've ever had. Ever! Hands down!

Yeah that definitely must have been a really great moment for you! Do these shows get any easier for you? Like being away from home or figuring out the game itself?

No. You know, I'm not good at politics at all. So making alliances and trying to get people to do one thing or the other I'm horrible at. But I will say the thing that is getting easier is actually just doing the challenges. So if there is a challenge that's heights over water and everything I know if I fall I'm not going to die. Or don't think about falling, just get to the next platform or whatever is it. I've gotten a lot more brave and I feel more confident than I used to be. I feel like the experiences I've had has given me a lot more confidence and helps me perform better. I think physically I have always been okay, I just think mentally I beat myself, so I'm not doing that anymore.

So now that you're more confident, is there any show you wish you could go back and redo?

Oh gosh.... Fresh Meat [II - her first challenge]? The thing is with that [show] I feel like I couldn't have done any better. I was severely horrible at puzzles on Fresh Meat and I remember Darrell being like "Don't do anything. Just step back and let me do the puzzles." And he couldn't figure out any of the puzzles at all. But I wonder what would have happened if I had lasted longer. But everything happens for a reason.

At the same time the only challenge I really wish I could redo would be this one. I hate the person that I was shown to be. I felt ugly. I wish I had just stepped up and been honest.

Speaking of Fresh Meat II, what was it like getting that call to do the show?

I was shocked because I was never picked for anything. Like I was the last kid picked in dodgeball. It was really cool and scary to walk into. I had no Idea what to expect. I was pretty much in disbelief that I was even picked.

Did you know you were going into Fresh Meat II or was it just "hey wanna be part of a challenge?

There's a ton of interviews about how I got cast for my first show. It was originally interviews for The Real World. I didn't make that and then they said they were casting for Fresh Meat and we are interesting in you.

Well they definitely picked a great competitor since you have been back for almost every season since Fresh Meat II. When did you feel like you have became one of the veterans of the show or have that label as a vet?

Veterans and Rookies from The Gauntlet 2
Veterans and Rookies from The Gauntlet 2

I honestly still don't feel that I am a vet. It's funny because people who have only done maybe three shows but were on before I ever started are the ones that I call vets. Even though I have done more shows than them...

Most of the time a big part of the show is partners or teams. Who would be your dream partner? Or who would you want on your dream team?

That's one hell of a game face
That's one hell of a game face

Honestly, I like competing alone. I feel like I'm much more confident when everything just depends on me, by myself. When I'm on a team I tend to rely on my partner. Not this season, Battle of the Bloodlines, I didn't because I had to help Jamie. But I feel like past seasons I've kind of fallen to the group or fallen to the teammate and let them lead. So I feel like I'm much stronger on my own.

What was it like having your cousin Jamie with you as a partner and being able to share that part of your life with your family?

Courtesy of Cara Maria's IG page
Courtesy of Cara Maria's IG page

You know, it was crazy having my cousin with me. It made me feel so much closer to home, it was actually amazing to have him with me. But overall it was just one of the hardest ones I had to do mentally. But having him there it made me feel home. That was good.

I have a few "would you rather" hypotheticals. Would you rather have a Pit/Dome/Gulag elimination - a game aspect or an exile where it's more endurance related?

It depends on what it is. At this point in my life, depending on who I'm going against, I rather it be an endurance thing. I feel like a lot of the newer kids don't [have endurance]. And it's all new kids, so I think I rather take endurance. Eliminations are just too chancy unless it's physical. And even so, the thing that people say when they meet is they're actually surprised at how little I am. I'm little but I can still put up a fight.

Right, you have definitely been one of the stronger competitors from the beginning. What about if you could choose between a puzzle elimination or a wrestling elimination?

Wrestling! Wrestling! I am horrible HORRIBLE at puzzles. I don't know, I must have had the luck of the Irish with me this season because I am horrible at puzzles. Like your brain is all of a sudden like "Oh my God! Oh my God! OH MY GOD!!! What if I don't get it?! WHAT IF I DON'T GET IT?!" and you just freeze. Where as wrestling it's just take this from them or pull this. You have one job to do, and I'm going to do it.

If you had to do another Rivals challenge, who would you want as a partner: Aneesa [fought during Bloodlines] or Emily [eliminated Cara Maria in Battle of the Exes and beat her in Rivals II]. (Gives me a weird face) I didn't know who else would be considered a rival for you! The only other person you had a beef with was Laurel and you two squashed that already!

(Laughs) Yeah! Well if I had to have a female rival, who wouldn't want Emily?! She's been one of the best female who's been on the show!

Who else would you consider a rival in that case, besides Aneesa?

Um.... Bananas?

Okay well, if you had to pick a male partner, who would you want: Wes of Bananas? Apparently this next season is guy/girl partners so if you were part of the show, who would you pick?

If I had to pick one I'd pick.... (sighs, long pause then laughs) The thing is I would like Wes because me and Wes get along. But I would prefer Bananas because if I was on his team, the only way her could win is if I would win. Otherwise he would try anything he could to get rid of me. So I rather be with my real enemy so he can't get rid of me.

Really? I remember back during Rivals I you can Wes had that big fight where he poured something on your head and you had an argument. So you two actually get along now?

I mean we don't text each other "Happy birthday" or "How're you doing?" But I mean, on Rivals II we were cool. He was in the same room as me, he was in the bunk right next to me actually. People make mistakes, people argue, people fight, but I think if someone comes up to me and goes "Hey, I'm sorry, that wasn't cool." And I'll be like "Thank you!" or "The way I was acting wasn't cool. But are we cool?" The thing that makes me hate people on the show is hypocrites. The worst thing I can't stand is a hypocrite. And that's when I get angry and I call people out on it and it gets me in trouble but it grinds my gears so bad!

Totally, that definitely makes sense. What can you tell me about the final/finale of Bloodlines against Cory and Mitch and Jenna and Brianna?

I can’t tell you anything other than if you were on a college drinking team, you wouldn’t want to pick me (laughs). That’s all.

Yeah during the teaser for the final challenge, I saw you guys are drinking beer and playing as you called it “Carnival games.”

I’ll be honest with you, if we go to a bar it will take me three hours to drink one beer. I’m not kidding. Whiskey and soda water - I’ll kill a few of those. Beer - It’ll take me a while (laughs).

Fair enough. So my last question I guess would be: can we anticipate seeing you in another challenge in the future?

This one was really tough on me. But the money is just so good and I’m older and getting to the point where “How many more of these can I do?" I think anyone who was offered the money would say yes. Unfortunately I did have to say no to this most recent one just because I too much going on in my personal life. But I think if another one comes up I probably will say yes.

The final challenge for Battle of the Bloodlines will air February 10th at 10pm on MTV. I definitely can't wait to see what the final will look like this time around. Fingers crossed Cara Maria finally gets that win in the end! Big shout out to Mark Arvanigian, president and founder of CelebChat, for all the help setting this up! If you want a chance to talk to Cara Maria yourself or any other celebrities, check out!


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